Twitter is being taken over by humans.

I’ve asked a lot of people, even people who do serious research on twitter activity, about something I’ve casually observed over the last few months. I have no data, no real backing to what is merely a casual observation. It seemed a while back, that the icons people chose for themselves on twitter were often cartoons, symbols, graphics, logos… I knew some people that would change icons more frequently then clothes (it seemed).

Lately I noticed, as I scan tweetdeck, that people (well the ones in my network) have really gone to showing their own face:

Picture 33

I have staunchly remained with the same icon I started with in twitter, not even succumbing to the Green Protest Phase (I tried to tell people I turned my avatar brown in protest of everything wrong in the world. No one noticed). I remain my dog profile everywhere online….


But maybe it is time for a change…. so I scanned around for some of the “looks” I am seeing among my twitter friends.

Perhaps I should try:

crouch The Crouch shows I am ready for action knd of like Alec Couros

close-crop The Cropped Up Close look, shows lots of energy (or morning shock?), like Scott Leslie

thoughtful-headcock The Thoughtful Headcock shows I am thinking alot, but also like to play, kind of like Injenuity

hat The Cool Hat always a classic, if you can pull it off, like D’Arcy Norman

cropped-serious The Serious Close Crop C’mon take me serious! Look me down! Kind of like Mark Oehlert

action The Cool Action with Green Screen background Hey, I’m an active guy (check out my short twitter handle!), kind of like Kris Krug

puppy The Nostalgic I Was a Cute Kid Shot says I treasure my childhood, kind of like Clint Lalonde

white-snow Deeply Mysterious Wrapped in Transparency- White on White as close as I might get to the ever eclectic Chris Lott

So whaddya think? Are twitter icons become more “real” as we try to put ourselves out there? Are we weak or lazy who hide behind icons? And most importantly, do I need a new icon?

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I think you should solicit auditions for the new face of CogDog!

    I’d like to be the first to submit a possible professional to fill this lofty role. Full portfolios available upon request. the CogDog, no nonsense look, furry, humbly pedigreed, ready to sniff out anything look.

  2. Don’t ever give into those silly people who want post their pictures. I, like you have never changed my profile picture on any of the social networking sites that I’ve used. Stay strong, Alan.

  3. Love the photo breakdown and comparison! My vote is for keeping your present icon, though I may be biased, as I’m in the same boat – same icon as I started with, and non-human as well. Stand firm!

  4. I noticed that recently too and wondered what was going on. My current theory is that as things like FB and Twitter become more mainstream and the personal networks grow larger to accommodate people from different aspects of life (work, friends, school, etc), people are starting to feel more comfortable using their real photos. Back when it was only your other netgeeky friends using all these services (we all have handles and nicknames and avatars) then the avatar was status quo, but now that your boss and half your office and your Aunt Edna are on Twitter, well, might as well post your photo so they know who the heck GreenLantern423 is.

    I’m probably wrong though. ;) In any case, your comparison photos not only made me laugh, but you were TOTALLY spot on the personality calls – the D’Arcy one made me laugh out loud.

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